Italian scribe Ugo Pirro dies, 87


ROME -- The Italian parliament on Monday observed a moment of silence in honor of screenwriter Ugo Pirro, who died early Saturday after a prolonged illness. He was 87.

Pirro was one of a small handful of non-U.S. industry figures to be nominated for two Oscars in the same year for two different films: in 1970 he was nominated for his work on Vittorio De Sica's drama "Giardino dei Finzi Contini" (The Garden of the Finzi-Continis) and again for "Indangine sul un Cittadino al di Sopra di Ogni Sospetto" (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion), a crime story directed by Elio Petri. Though Pirro did not win either prize, the double nomination earned him notoriety in Italy, where he kept working well into his 70s.

His final two films, both from 1996, were both noteworthy: "Celluloide" (Celluloid), a tribute to the making of Roberto Rossellini's "Roma, Citta Aperta" (Rome, Open City) won Pirro his lone David di Donatello prize after several nominations. And "Ninfa Plebea" (The Nymph) sparked a worldwide controversy for its depiction of the sexuality of the young daughter of a prostitute.

Pirro's death resulted in praise from many sources, including noted film buff and Rome mayor Walter Veltroni, who called Pirro "One of the greatest screenwriters in the history of cinema" and Italian president Giorgio Napolitano who called Pirro "a giant from the golden age of Italian cinema."